TPO Newsletter No.144 | 2017-01-31
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In this issue :
  • 1. Mu Yun, a Member of Tourism Development Commission of Yantai City,
        visited the TPO Secretariat
  • 2. The Audit for the TPO Secretariat for 2015
  • 3. Goyang City FAM tour to develop new travel products for the year 2017
  • 4. Nam-gu, Ulsan spurs to prepare for the Ulsan Visit Year
  • 5. KORAIL launches tourism products for passengers traveling from Sadang,
        Seoul to Busan
  • 6. Korean travelers make up half the foreign tourists visiting Kitakyushu
  • 7. 2017 Yanshui Beehive Firecracker
  • 8. 2017 Suzhou Spring Orchid Exhibition
  • 9. Irkutsk, Russia to host the 13th Baikal Ice Marathon
Member & Industry News

1. Mu Yun, a Member of Tourism Development Commission of Yantai City, visited the TPO Secretariat

Mu Yun, the Vice-Director of the Yantai Leisure Development Committee, visited the Secretariat of the Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia Pacific Cities located in Busan, Korea on December 21, 2016 for a meeting with Secretary-General Shin Yeon-sung.

Secretary-General Shin expressed his gratitude regarding Yantai’s full cooperation and participation in the TPO events, and his wish for the city continually to take interest in TPO.

Secretary-General Shin and Vice-Director Mu Yun have common understanding to ensure that Yantai City and TPO establish close collaborative relations, and to make joint efforts to improve the city brand of Yantai and attract more tourists to the city.

2. The Audit for the TPO Secretariat for 2015

The delegation (Mr. Tran Huy and Mr. Ma Nguyen Trong Nghia) dispatched by the Ho Chi Minh City Government paid a visit to the TPO Secretariat from December 26 (Mon.) to 29 (Thurs.) for the 2015 audit.

Every expense was rigorously handled by the auditors, including the wages for the Secretariat staff, operating costs, meeting costs and project costs among others.

The TPO Secretariat is annually audited by the city selected by the Executive Committee, in accordance with the TPO Statutes and the Regulations for the Operation of the TPO Secretariat. At the 29th Executive Committee Meeting (Nov. 2016, Tokyo), Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam was selected as the auditing city for the 2015 audit.

The Ho Chi Minh delegation stated, ??The budget and expenditures of the TPO Secretariat are transparent and have been executed appropriately, and sufficient accounting and evidentiary documents are present.?? The results of the audit will be reported at the 30th Executive Committee Meeting, which is scheduled to be held this coming June.

After completing the audit procedure, the delegation had a chance to tour the major tourist attractions of Busan such as Yonggungsa Temple, Yongdusan Tower, International Market and Jagalchi Market on the last day of their visit (December 28th).

3. Goyang City FAM tour to develop new travel products for the year 2017

Goyang invited tourism experts for a familiarization (FAM) tour on December 22 and 23, 2016 for the purpose of developing new travel products for the year 2017.

There were total of 15 participants, who are representatives from the Secretariat of the Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia Pacific Cities, a travel magazine AB Road, and five travel agencies including Seosin International Travel Agency.

The FAM Tour kicked off with a visit to a Christmas festival held at the Goyang Children’s Museum, which is mainly visited by families with small children, and the participants were taken to the Culture Experience Center, where they had a chance to make and eat a traditional Korean dish called bibimbap.

In the afternoon, the participants visited a Shopping Logistics Center, occupied by Mansun Corporation, a clothing outlet for the goods made in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, HM International where you can purchase the same clothing as Korean celebrities put on, and a travel bag manufacturer, Eddas and discussed the possibility of developing tourism products including the shopping complex.

On the second day of the FAM Tour, the participants had a chance to learn the Zumba dance at the Goyang One Mount Sports Club, and exchanged opinions on developing tourism products based on K-pop dance and a Zumba festival.

A spokesperson from the Goyang City Government said, “The tour was organized to discover and experience the hidden potential of the city that are not well-known to the general public, and we will continue to make improvements so that these attractions can be turned into travel products.”

4. Nam-gu, Ulsan spurs to prepare for the Ulsan Visit Year

Ulsan Metropolitan City is well-known as the only whale-watching destination in Korea, and in time for the Ulsan Visit Year, Nam-gu District plans on improving tourism attractions and makes an effort to promote them. Nam-gu District announced their plans at a briefing on January 11.

?? Improvement to the Jangsaengpo Whale Museum and the Whale Experience Hall

Nam-gu District will be investing KRW 1 billion (approx. USD 850,000) into a remodeling project for the Jangsaengpo Whale Museum. There have been concerns of decrepit facilities, as there have been no facility improvements since its opening in 2005. The museum will be temporarily closed in the second half of this year for the remodeling project.

Along with the remodeling project, new exhibits such as the skeletons of a humpback whale will be added, and some of the exhibits will be replaced with new ones.

The repair and remodeling project for the Whale Experience Hall including the aquarium, which opened last October, is expected to be completed by the end of January. 

?? Establishment of a waterfront

Nam-gu District plans to remove the steel fence installed along a 600m distance between the dock for whale-watching cruise ships and the lighters wharf, and to create a trail for promenade and relaxation. A winding trail will be created so that the visitors could take a stroll, while enjoying the surrounding scenery naturally, and the possible construction of a skywalk along this section is currently under review. There are also plans to have food trucks, cafes and other amenities in the area. 

?? Tourism Marketing and Promotion

Nam-gu District will also undertake strategic marketing activities to attract tourists from across the country and around the world. Advertisements will be featured on two intra-city buses and two tour buses each city in Seoul, Busan, and Daegu. Also, the total funding for the incentives for bringing tourist groups will be increased to KRW 45 million (approx. USD 38,000).

A blogging contest to promote the Jangsaengpo Special Whale Culture Zone will be continued until this coming May. They also have plans to promote the tourism resources through TPO activities in China or in Vietnam. Travel product development for the travel and tourism marketing activities will also continue on.

Familiarization (FAM) tours will be held in April and September to attract more foreign tourists.

5. KORAIL launches tourism products for passengers traveling from Sadang, Seoul to Busan

Korea Railroad (KORAIL) announced its plans to launch a large number of travel products under the theme, “KTX Tour Departing from Sadang.”

With the operation of shuttle bus between Sadang Subway Station and Gwangmyeong Railroad Station commencing on January 11, travelers now have the option of taking a limousine shuttle bus from Sadang Station and transferring to a KTX train at Gwangmyeong Station. There are also travel packages for those wishing to visit the main tourist attractions of Busan, Yeosu and other regions outside Seoul.

KORAIL offers up to 50% discount on the KTX fares to those using one of these products, and provides additional 1,000 mileage points for those using the shuttle bus.  

The KTX tour products for those departing from Sadang to travel to Busan are as follows: ?? Rail City Tour in Busan (1-day trip) ?? Rail City Tour in Busan (2-day trip) ?? Rail-tel Travel (Crown Harbor Hotel) ?? Rail-tel Travel (Busan Lotte Hotel) ?? The Best of Busan City Tour (1-day trip) ?? Complete Tour of the Tourist Attractions of Busan (2-day trip) ?? Busan Toyoko Inn (Jungang Branch) ?? Free Independent Train Travel (2-day trip) ?? Rail-tel Travel (Commodore Hotel: Special Class I) ?? Rail-tel Travel (Ibis Ambassador Hotel Busan).

A representative of KORAIL said, “With shuttle buses operating from Sadang to Gwangmyeong Station, KTX has become more accessible from the southern part of Seoul. We hope that more customers can enjoy traveling on the train through our diverse travel products this winter.”

6. Korean travelers make up half the foreign tourists visiting Kitakyushu

Proximity and convenient transportation are main contributors

The Kitakyushu branch of the Bank of Japan announced the results of a survey on foreign tourists accommodating in Kitakyushu. The report included the ratio of tourists by nationality and the changes in the number of foreign tourists on which the data was rarely provided in the past.  

The report released on December 1 included the analysis on the distribution of foreign visitors staying at the major hotels in Kitakyushu between April 2014 and October 2016.

The total number of foreign guests at the hotels concerned in 2015 was found to be 75,200, of which 37,200 were Koreans making up approximately 49.5%, followed by Taiwanese tourists at 26.1% (19,700), Chinese tourists at 8.0% (6,000), and Hong Kong tourists at 4.8% (3,600). Other nationalities accounted for the remaining 11.6% (8,700).

The number of Korean guests at hotels in Japan accounted for a large percentage of foreign guests, recording 19.1% (2015) nationwide and 39.6% in Kyushu. The reasons of the large number of Korean tourists visiting Kitakyushu were explained as “geographic proximity” and “convenient transportation (incl. ferries between Busan and Shimonoseki).”

Meanwhile, according to the survey on the tourism trends observed in Kitakyushu, there were 252,000 foreign tourists who toured the city for only a day, without staying overnight, in 2015, and this was a 50.9% increase from the previous year. However, this was still a small number compared to the total number of domestic travelers (11.7 million) to the city.

However, the revenue for the hotel industry is expected to increase with the launch of regular international flights to Kitakyushu Airport departing from Dalian, China in October last year and from Busan and Seoul in December.


7. 2017 Yanshui Beehive Firecracker

The Yanshui Beehive Firecracker, regarded as one of the three largest folk festivals in the world, and is often explained with the descripton: “Sky lanterns in the north, beehive fireworks in the south.” The festival will take place in Yanshui Distric in Tainan from February 10 to 11, 2017. The Tainan City Government has expressed the wish for its domestic and foreign visitors truly to enjoy the spectacular fireworks with the local cuisine, at this year’s Yanshui Beehive Firecracker, which will be full of more diverse events and programs compared to last year.

The Yanshui Beehive Firecracker, known for its long history and traditions, is a unique traditional folk festival of Taiwan. The festival has been selected as one of the most religious festivals of Taiwan by the Ministry of the Interior in 2013. It was also selected for the 2015-2018 International Folk Event: Taiwanese Tourism Calendar and the Taiwan Chinese New Year Festival organized by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. This fact supports that the firecracker festival not only shows the local traits, but also has an international appeal.

8. 2017 Suzhou Spring Orchid Exhibition

The Suzhou Spring Orchid Exhibition, which was launched in 1996, will be held by the Canglang Pavilion, also known as the Blue Wave Garden, in February this year. Visitors will get a chance to appreciate more than 200 species of orchids at the Mingdao Hall, Fragrance House, Cui Linglong, Yaohua realm and other areas of the compound.

The 2017 Suzhou Spring Orchid Exhibition takes place under the theme of “The Beauty of Orchid Fragrance: The Orchids of Love, the Garden of Dreams.” There will be four exhibition areas including the Flower Art Zone and the Premium Orchid Zone.

Compared to last year, the exhibition will be much larger, and the theme and programs have been changed slightly to present a luxurious garden with a fresh and unique concept to the visitors. The various orchids on display in the garden will delight the eyes and noses of the visitors with their beauty and pleasant scent.

9. Irkutsk, Russia to host the 13th Baikal Ice Marathon

The unique marathon on ice in the world!

The Baikal Ice Marathon takes place on Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake, on March 7 (Tues.). Around this time of the year, marathoners from all corners of the globe come together for a race on ice across Lake Baikal.

Lake Baikal, situated between Irkutsk and the Republic of Buryatia on the southeast of Siberia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the world’s oldest lake with more than 25 million years of history. It is also the world’s deepest lake, with an average depth of 700m and maximum depth of 1,700m. It accounts for 90% of the total freshwater in Russia, with a catchment of 22,000km3.

More than 120 runners from 50 countries including Japan, China, Norway and Ukraine will compete in the 49.195km race, which typically takes around 3 hours to complete, at freezing temperatures at around -10??C. Although the surface ice on Lake Baikal has an average thickness of 1.5m, there are still risks of the ice surface cracking and breaking due to geothermal and seismic activities. For this reason, the frozen lake will be monitored in real-time based on satellite images to check for cracks.

The Baikal Ice Marathon will be held along with various other events that will allow participants to test their limits such as the Baikal Kamchatka (Ice Fishing Competition), Baikal Ice Golf Tournament, and Ice Skating Race.

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